Domestic cricket season kicks off with Irani Cup

Published: Friday, September 30, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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New Delhi:Gautam Gambhir will be carrying huge burden on his young shoulders when he leads Rest of India against Ranji Trophy champions Railways in the Irani Cup cricket tie starting at the Karnail Singh stadium here tomorrow.

Opening the innings for the Indian Test team has brought him honour and with it the responsibility of leading a bunch of talented individuals in the country's premier first-class event, and the 23-year old chose to look at it with positive attitude.

"It is a young side but many of them have played for India. It is an opportunity for everyone to prove himself," said Gambhir whose experience of being a captain was when he led the Delhi Under-19 and Under-23 teams.

As it goes with such ties, Gambhir will have to do a fine balancing act as a captain since he would have to aim at stopping the strong Railways from steamrolling them while also making sure the players who are in the eye of selectors are given enough space to display their talent.

"We will be going for victory, of course. It is the start of the season, if you do well, you will get noticed," was how Gambhir saw the situation.

The Delhi batsman's task was not made any easier with no manager around to facilitate the team's practice and other requirements.

It was almost tragi-comedy when at the end of nets session at the Karnail Singh stadium, North Zone selector Yashpal Sharma declared himself the manager after a communication from the BCCI.

With the host-appointed manager failing to turn up, the teams went almost without breakfast in the morning before the 1983 World Cup hero stepped in to the players' rescue.

When the Railways Board finally sorted out the issue and a manager did arrive at the scene, the practice session was almost over.

Problems aside, it will be a crucial match for the likes of Y Venugopala Rao and Suresh Raina, who were part of the Indian ODI team in Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, to consolidate their position and bolster their chance in the longer version of the game as well.

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